14 December 2017

Nigeria: Senate Urged to Promote ICT Bill to Harmonise ICT Acts

Participants at a cyber security awareness forum organised by the Centre for Cyber Awareness and Development (CECAD) in Lagos recently, has called on federal law makers, the Senate in particular, to come up with a Bill on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) that will harmonise all ICT Acts that are currently in silos.

This, according to the forum, would help protect the country's national critical data that would help Nigeria fortify its cyberspace that has been threatened by global cyberwar.

Keynote speaker at the forum, who is the Director General of Delta State Innovation Hub (DS-iHUB), Mr. Chris Uwaje, specifically called on the Senate Committee on Information and Communications Technology to urgently promote the enactment National ICT Framework Bill to harmonise all ICT Acts into one foundation under the institutional framework of 'The Office of the ICT General of the Federation.'

Uwaje said the move became necessary in order to address the digital security challenges in the country's cyberspace and the nation's slow adoption of technology by corporate entities with special focus on the need and imperatives for innovation, leadership, policy-makers and stakeholders.

In discussing the theme for this year's 4th edition forum of the Nigeria Mobile Economy Summit and Expo (NiMESE) 2017; 'The Mobile Economy Impact in Nigeria: Policy, Innovation and Investment,' Uwaje looked at Weaponisation of Cyberspace Imperatives of Cyber Defense in Protecting Corporate Assets, where he dwelt so much on cybersecurity threats and why Nigeria has failed to put things in the right perspective, given the current global revolution on knowledge economy,

According to Uwaje, "The World has systematically entered its fourth industrial revolution, which is about knowledge economy and the global knowledge olympiad has begun."

The success in the digital domain and platform-centric battlefield, is speed- enabled intellectual property wealth creation in cyberspace.

"Therefore it is imperative for the new national assets, which is data, to be protected especially with the emergence of Internet of Things (IoT), which requires strategic intervention at all critical levels of development."

He said protecting national critical infrastructure will also create employment for Nigerian youth, improve the country's global e-Readiness status, improve national security concerns and accelerate global competitiveness.

In his intervention, the President of CECAD, Dr. Bayero Agambi, who spoke on why Nigeria is still lagging behind developed nations in technology innovation, expressed his displeasure why Nigeria can't get it right technologically.

Riding on the topic. 'Can't Get Why We Can't Get it', Agambi examined Nigeria's performance on the mobile economy and proffered solutions to some of the challenges inhibiting the emergence of a new Nigeria.

Citing census data, which revealed that almost 40 per cent of Nigerian Americans hold bachelors degrees, 17 per cent hold masters degrees, and 4 per cent hold doctoral, more than any other ethnic group in the America, Agambi said the data further supports the widely held notion that Nigerian culture emphasises education and places value on pursuing education as a means to financial success and personal fulfillment, yet the country is yet to get it right technologically.

Posing a question why the country has not got it right, Agambi said: "I just can't get why we can't get it. I really for a fact can't get why we can't get it. Can't get it that we are at the middle of a knowledge economy, where time, tribe, color and nationality is taking a back seat for what you know and not who you know."

Since we can't get it, NiMESE forum will help us get it, which is not about the technology of things but about what technology can do to make life better for individuals, organisations and the nation, Agambi said.

He added that NiMESE endorsed and adopted by the federal government, is a platform to encourage skills, innovation and enterprise in the new economy.

Giving reasons for the country's challenges, the Executive Secretary of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Mr. Gbolahan Awonuga, said the challenges were caused by government at all levels that have stopped telecoms operators from expanding their networks, through the imposition of arbitrary telecoms levies, thereby inhibiting technology growth of the country.

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